Caroline Killeen's 10-speed has been the vehicle of her political protest before.
In 1965, she rode in support of the physical fitness program begun during the Kennedy administration, and three years later she cycled for Robert F. Kennedy's bid for the presidency.
In 1970 - "the Year of Ecology," she calls it - Killeen pedaled for clean air. In 1972 and 1973, again faithfully reflecting the mood of U.S. liberals, the Tucson, Ariz. resident and her bicycle turned out for the Dump Nixon and Impeach Nixon campaigns.
And yesterday - in front of the home of the man who crushed her own obscure bid for the White House last year - the 51-year-old Killeen led a small band of cycling enthusiasts in a day-long protest against what Killeen sees as the Carter administration's failure to enlist bicycles and individuals in its plans to cut energy consumption.
"Carter's original policy is weak because it does not involve individual effort," said Killeen, who has been protesting at the White House since July 6, when she first pedaled up on her yellow Peugeot bike decked with a sign reading, "Where's Carters" CYCLE?"
Killeen cycled here from Tucson, leaving in mid-February and stopping along the way to try to convince public officials that energy conservation plans should include provisions to encourage bicycling.
While Killeen's supporters circled the White House, cycling enthusiasts were holding another, less political ceremony up on Capitol Hill to celebrate the end of a 3,000-mile, 13-state, cross-country tandem bicycle journey by two Norwegians, one of them blind, to promote cycling and recreation for the blind.
After being rerouted by Capitol Police and getting caught in mid-morning traffic, Tore Naerland, 23, who is blind, and Helge Hundeide, 19, pedaled to a stop in front of a score of people gathered on the House side of the Capitol.
The brief ceremony that followed saw Reps. Albert H. Quie (R-Minn.) and Arlan Stangeland (R-Minn.) take uneasy spins on the two bicyclist's blue and white tandem. The bike was also handed over formally to the D.C. Association of Workers for the Blind, which will use it for a recreational program called Project Venture.
In a speech on the Capitol steps, Quie praised the young Norwegians: "It's amazing to me what the handicapped can do in sports - and in all walks of life - if given a little encouragement."
The biggest hit of the morning, however, was Naerland, who lost 95 per cent of his sight eight years ago. A short, blond haired man with a charming smile, Naerland spoke for several minutes to those gathered at the Capitol.
Speaking and gesticulating animatedly, Naerland praised the friendliness of the Americans he had encountered. But most memorable to the resident of Stavnger, Norway, he said, was the beauty of the American West.
"I discovered so many things . . . there was so much to smell and listen to out there . . . the music of the river, the song of the river, the birds singing, the little grasshoppers . . ." he said.
At one point, Naerland said, he sat for 20 minutes at a spot on the Yellowstone River in Yellowstone National Park. "I only listened to the sound of the river. That was one of the best records I've ever listened to," almost as good, he said, as the records of one of his favorite singers, Johnny Cash.
Meanwhile, back at the White House, the handful of cyclists following Killeen had grown to about 10. Several said they had come to protest the short supply of bicycle paths in the metropolitan area, while Killeen emphasized the need for President Carter to become a model, energy-saving cyclist.
Patrick DeMent 14, of Lanham, reported that he had "a really hard time" with cars when he bikes. Both he and Timothy Yarbrough, 21, who lives in the District, stressed the need for more bike paths and stiffer traffic laws protecting cyclists.
But like Killeen, who believes Carter "Hasn't convinced the American people that there's an energy crisis," Yarbrough insisted: "I'm sure if Carter can eat hamburgers on Wednesday, he can ride a bike on Thursday."
The two-day "White House CycleThon" and Killeen's four-week protests end this afternoon.